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Gunstock set for Flemington return

Dual Group 3 winner Gunstock has recovered well from a second knee operation and is set to again resume his promising racing career over 1700 metres at Flemington on Tuesday.

Co-trainer Michael Kent Jnr said the son of Tavistock has been working and trialing strongly in preparation for his first run since his Coongy Cup romp by three lengths at Caulfield last October.

"His trials have been sharp for him," reported Kent Jnr, who trains in partnership with Mick Price. "No doubt he'll be a bit rusty off a long break but from a soft draw (barrier three), good jockey on in Ben Melham, there is no reason why he won't go really well.

"He's a very smart staying prospect.

Unfortunately, he's had a couple of knee injuries, but he is perfect and he's going great.

"You can see what he can do. He's had seven starts and won two Group 3s. He's extremely exciting. A beautiful, big stride, he can stay all day.

"His last start, he hacked up second-up (in Coongy Cup, 2000m) on a Heavy 10 by three lengths eased down, so you wouldn't have thought the following morning, the way he won easily, we were totally surprised to see that (injury) in the morning.

"He had little bone fragments. He's obviously got a little weakness there but otherwise, he's the most beautiful horse. "I'd hate to think what he might have been had he not had those problems."

Gunstock first had knee troubles out of the 2021 Victoria Derby, where he ran as a $4.60 second favourite but finished 13th.

Stayers coming off a long break often need a run or two to get back into winning form, but Kent Jnr said the stable expects Gunstock to be most competitive in the Les Carlyon (1700m).

"He's got the speed in his legs first-up and he'll get the trip (1700m) no problem," he said. "There's one to beat, probably Pinstriped, but he's a pretty classy animal Gunstock so there's no reason he couldn't win. "It's very much run by run with him. It's cross fingers and toes and everything that he pulls up well.

"He's rated a 96, so you can't run him wherever you want to, maybe Queensland, maybe freshened up for the spring. He's hard to place."

The stable could have two runners in the race, with the track and weather the key to deciding whether import Visinari takes his place.

"He's looking for a bit of give in the ground," Kent Jnr said. "He's a sound animal but his best form has been on Soft ground.

"I think that's the reason his first two runs back haven't been up to his best, so if we thought it (Saturday) wouldn't suit, (it will be) Sandown 10 days later."

Photo: Racing Photos


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